Valentine Cookies and Painted Plates

2012 invite 21

 There's a lotta love in the air around here.  I hope you're feeling it wherever you are.  If you're local, come play with me at the annual Women's Lunch sponsored by the Wabash County Hospital.  It's an honor to be the featured lecturer.  Thank you, WCH!  


 Also, I was just chatting with my gram about baking.  We really want this book.   Gram's theory is that if you make 2 recipes out of it—it's worth it.  Not sure where she gets her numbers, but I like the philosophy.  Until it comes, here's a link to gram's sugar cookie recipe-just in time for weekend baking.  And hey, if you want to get really crazy, how about letting the kids paint a plate for the cookies–check out my easy painted plate tutorial here!



Rice Krispie Treat Nests

This is an ol’ family favorite treat.  My grandma has made these every Easter for as long as I can remember.  She puts a basket of individually wrapped Rice Krispie Treat Nests out and we nibble on some and stash a few in our tote bags for later.  They are especially good for Monday morning breakfast because it’s a little piece of the weekend to soften the blow of the work week.

There are lots and lots of versions for how to make them—see picture ideas here.  I use the original recipe and keep my hands super buttered when forming the little nests.  Drop in some Jelly Belly’s for eggs and wrapem’ in pretty cellophane.  Grandma puts Easter grass in the basket, then lays them on top.  Super duper cute and yummy!

Sunday to Monday


Last night my friend Mikey gave me a tip that an open jam session was going down at the local coffee shop, Modocs.  It was a blast and great to see so many warm, smiling faces.


Mikey.  I've known him since 8th grade! (he was singing a Jack Johnson song)  If you are looking for someone to play some background music at your next party—this is your man!


Then this morning I woke up so excited because over the weekend I got stuff to make baked oatmeal.  The snow was (and still is) trickling down quickly and I sat in my kitchen booth seat by the window happy as a clam with a heaping bowl of it drizzled in half and half (I don't mess around).  

If you like baked oatmeal cookies fresh out of the oven, then you're going to love this…LOVE IT!  I PROMISE!!

Baked Oatmeal:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Combine both, then add the fruit.

  • 3 C. quick cooking oatmeal (i do half quick and half old fashion)
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 C. low-fat milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 C. butter melted
  • 1 peeled and chopped tart apple
  • 1/3 C. peaches chopped (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 C. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 handful of dried fruit (dried cranberries or anything really, even some sliced almonds)

Place in a greased, 8" square dish and bake 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Grandma got me hooked on Mexican Vanilla and now I can never go back to imitation.  She sells it in her store and as my Aunt Jane says, "it really makes a difference."  It does.

*I got this recipe from the Taste of Home website and then tweaked it to suit my cravings.

My Gram’s Valentine Cookies…

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My Gram, Mary DeLauter and I have made these a time or two.  I’m sharing the recipe because we’ve never heard one complaint.  Not even from grandpa, who gets stuck eating the over-done ones because gram and I’ve gotten side-tracked yakking or fussing over icing details.  Fussing meaning, grandma puts red hots on EVERYTHING and I’m not such a fan of red hots…although they look so dang cute (truthfully, as I age, they are growing on me).  But, I will never tire of these cookies or apologize for eating two or three in one setting.  Neither should you.  Ok, grab your heart cutters because here’s the recipe.

Mary D’s Sugar Cutout Cookies

¾ C shortening (part butter or margarine)

1 C sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 ½ C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

-Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla

-Add flour, baking powder and salt

*Chill at least 1 hour

-Oven @ 400

-Roll dough 1/8” thick on lightly floured board.  Cut with cookie cutters and place on un-greased baking sheet.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Butter-cream Decorating Icing (future Candie is editing here–I think this is actually called Royal icing)

½ C butter

½ C solid vegetable shortening

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

4 C confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp cool milk or cream

-Cream butter and shortening together with electric mixer

-Add vanilla and salt

-Beat in sugar, 1 C at a time, blending well after each addition

*Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often

-Add milk and beat at high speed until light and fluffy

-Add color if you like too…

*Keep icing covered with lid and store in fridge.

Baked Oatmeal…

I made baked oatmeal on a whim Wednesday night for dinner because it was sooooo cold and I needed something not only to warm up my belly, but the air in my apartment.  It worked.  It was awesome!  I'm sharing.


The recipe is here.  I made a few modifications though.  2 tsp of cinnamon instead of a 1/2 because I love my spices,added a handful of craisins, and 2 tsp of vanilla.  Also, instead of using all 3C. quick cooking oats, I did 2C. quick cooking and 1C. rolled….for texture's sake, you know?

And it was so pretty!  Don't think I paid $4 for a box of blueberries in the dead of winter, folks.  I scored them on manager's special because they were a bit tired looking.  You know a recipe is meant to happen when you get blueberries for $2.

I was absolutely too excited to dig in and forgot to take the picture.  Sorry for the big gaping hole.  Kind of. 

This is plopped straight out of the oven in all it's toasty, gooey, loveliness.  If only I could send you the smell of it baking through my blog.  Oh.  My apartment smelled, well, sinful really.

XO, Candie

Green Tea Muffins…

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It's been a bittersweet past few days—my project review for the book was a smash, phone calls and emails with friends, organizing classes for later this fall, things are really moving and I don't want to take it for granted.  On the other hand, my dad is sick and it seems to have gotten worse the past few days, so that's weighing heavy on my mind.  Could you send some good healing energy his way?  Thanks in advance.

Two nights ago, I made a batch of soup and some  Green Tea muffins to go with it.  I've been wanting to try these for oh, say, three years now!  Katie picked me up some "matcha" (green tea powder) the other day at the international grocery store  Love the intense green color!

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Ok, got a little carried away with the "green." I first tried green tea muffins in China (even though I think it's a Japanese thing).  It was out in Changshu at a Kenny Roger's Roasters restaurantt (very random), believe it or not!  Of course the restaurant closed down not too long after we got there.  So I've pretty much been hungry for them since…

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Could not resist this cutie plate at the dollar store!  I found the recipe by googling "green tea muffin recipe".  Thank you Collection of Words for posting this great recipe.  I didn't have hazelnuts, but they still were awesome.  I'm making another batch in the morning to take out to a friends house for lunch.  Looking forward to that!

Spring Cravings….?

Ugh, I am craving a stroopwaffeln right now!  Katie I know you are too!  My Dutch friend, Coby got me hooked on them when I lived in Suzhou.  Then when we were in Germany and Belgium the Spring before last and I bought a load of them for everybody I knew.  Maybe I’m having association cravings or something weird like that?  Earlier today I realized this will be the third year in a row that we miss out on Aunt Jane’s pickled eggs at Easter. And just to add a log to the fire, today is my crazy cute nephew’s fourth birthday and we are missing it. 🙁 That’s it, I’m having a pitty party for myself.  You’re all invited, of course.